(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
We just spent a weekend in Ottawa – as we went by car this time, we decided to focus on places that are a little harder to visit using public transportation.
I’ll start with the strangest part: we stopped at a flea market in Stittsville on Sunday. There was a lot of used furniture and the usual knick-knacks that are typically found at flea markets. But then we saw “it”! As you can see from the picture, “it” is a chair made out of animal horns. This raises all kinds of questions. Was the chair builder somehow inspired to build a Chair of Horns and subsequently went looking for the perfect horns? Or did the chair builder already have the horns…and then arrive at the unavoidable conclusion that they must be used to build a chair?
It would be interesting to know the answer. From my perspective, when I see horns, I don’t immediately think that “I must build a chair out of these”. Anyway, it’s quite unusual and, if you’re lucky, this Chair of Horns might even still be available for purchase!
Although we didn’t realize it was happening until we arrived in Ottawa, we also managed to attend part of the annual Tulip Festival. This festival has its roots in the gift of more than 100,000 tulip bulbs by the Netherlands to Canada, as thanks for Canada’s role in World War II (you can read the details here). The big event this year was the unveiling of the new “Canada 150”: a tulip that resembles the Canadian flag (see photo at the top of this post). It has been developed in anticipation of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 and will apparently be available commercially later this year.
Many of our destinations were food-related. In addition to various ethnic grocery stores, we went to a Malaysian restaurant on Friday and a South Indian restaurant on Saturday. We learned that the food from the Kerala region of southern India is very spicy…even the mild dishes would be considered at least “medium hot” elsewhere. Fortunately, we were able to balance it with gelato from Little Italy on Preston Street.
However, I think our best food experience was in the Hintonburg neighbourhood. We found a lot of great little shops here: my wife enjoyed a Christmas store, I enjoyed visiting a record shop, and we both spent a lot of time in “World of Maps”! As this is a travel blog, I have to mention this as a travel store worth visiting in Ottawa. Lots of maps and travel guides, of course, but also lots of other travel literature and supplies. If you need a New Zealand sticker for your car, or a flag from Barbados, this is your place!
Anyway, we had a great lunch at a Hintonburg restaurant called “Tennessy Willems” (spelling apparently intentional). It focused on Italian food and was extremely committed to local ingredients. The Capricciosa pizza (usually my favourite kind) was one of the best I’ve ever had; I’m glad that I remembered to take a picture before eating. The sauce was particularly good – the restaurant even sells jars of it!
Stay tuned for a few more flashbacks, as the Southern Hemisphere countdown continues!